DHRC at KIE publishes report from expert roundtable on human trafficking

DHRCatKIE-Human-Trafficking-Summary-400In October, a group of faculty from across Duke’s departments and schools were joined by scholars from other universities for a roundtable discussion on human trafficking hosted by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. The event was organized around the residency of this year’s Visiting Fellow in Human Rights, Anne Gallagher, a former United Nations Special Adviser on Human Trafficking. The DHRC at KIE has just published a summary of the roundtable discussion compiled by Kenan Institute for Ethics undergraduate research assistant Leah Cattoti.

The diverse expertise among the participants reflects the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to address the complex dynamics of human trafficking. The roundtable brought together those with knowledge and experience from a range of fields, including law, history, social work  journalism, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and public policy. Participants discussed questions about how to frame human trafficking in ways that reflect the range of experiences, rather than simple victim narratives, and also examined why the current frame is being used in media portrayals, by the government, and by advocacy organizations.  The group also discussed changing intervention strategies, including the role of law and technology. Participants recognized that more work needs to be done to understand the process by which some individuals are identified as trafficked while other similarly situated individuals remain in the category of illegal migrants.  In addition to interdisciplinary collaboration, participants agreed that there continues to be a real need for academic-practitioner collaboration in order to improve the accessibility and relevance of academic research, as well as to meaningfully influence public policy and public discourse on human trafficking.